Sunday, March 28, 2010

Daily Needs

What are we praying for when we pray for our daily bread? Not bread alone, surely, but all the things we need--the things we really need--to get us through the day. I don't assume these are exclusively material things--like bread--but I don't think we should dismiss the material as unimportant as we high-mindedly focus on spiritual things. Real bread. A real roof over your head. Real things really matter!

So, when I pray the Lord's prayer for my loved ones, it's at this point that I think of their actual physical needs. Sometimes I'm pretty sure I know what they are, so I name them, but I'm also aware that God knows them better than I, so that little phrase "daily bread" sort of leaves it up to God. Lord, please make sure my boys have everything they need today. Everything they really need.

I try not to speculate too much about these needs. I concede that God knows them better than I, in any case. But praying for daily needs does tend to focus my mind on the question, what do I really need? What do my sons really need? What does my wife really need? Really.

And asking these questions brings to mind some other questions. What am I here for? What's my purpose today? Why, after all, do I need what I need?

This prayer, remember, is a prayer for disciples. What we think about our daily needs will depend upon how we see ourselves positionally before God and therefore our very purpose in praying to begin with. A disciple represents (re-presents) Jesus to the world, and so to pray as a disciple is to pray with the perspective of one who desires above all else to do that representing well, and whose highest and best dream is of God's kingdom coming.

Do you see how this focuses our thoughts? Instead of scanning the canvas of our lives for this or that need to throw into the prayer-hopper, we will tend to hone in on our part in God's great kingdom plan and purpose. Or, if we're praying for others, the fulfillment of their own unique purpose in that same plan. Daily bread, in other words, is important, but it is important for a reason. Not simply because we don't want to go hungry, but we don't want our daily needs to distract us from fulfilling our purpose in God.

This is a prayer that the evil one does not want us to pray. He wants us distracted and preoccupied. This is a honing in and a focusing that positions us on the cutting edge of the God's coming kingdom.

Lord, thank you for daily bread. As I pray for my loved ones, may I pray them into your purpose for them, which goes far beyond the satisfaction of physical hunger. I thank you for such satisfaction, Lord. But blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, you say, so please give them more of that kind of hunger, and give them, until your kingdom of righteousness comes, a foretaste of your satisfaction of that hunger, even today Lord. Even today! For yours is the bread, and yours is the righteousness, in Jesus' name. Amen.


Glynn said...

Good thoughts here, Bob -- praying for our daily bread to avoid letting basic stuff get in the way.

Anonymous said...

you have had me thinking on this with these latest posts. i had a thought about the daily bread being, well, daily.

just what we need for today...not yesterday's bread, not enough to last through tomorrow, not a year's worth, but, bread for today.

Erin Hope said...

this is good stuff.
I think there's also a lot to be said about not being distracted by those things simply because we don't trust him, too. At least I know that's where I end up sometimes...